Home made thick cream

There are people who cannot get hold of single or double cream or cream that will whisk up to soft peaks for piping, topping off a trifle, mixing with curds for cake fillings or simply to add to recipes that call for cream. This method dates back hundreds of years when sometimes the only cream available was that taken from the top of the milk. This home made cream was probably used as a solution for making a small amount of cream go further or for when there was no cream at all. This thick cream made from milk and butter with the addition of just a little sugar and vanilla tastes nearly the same and is definitely a good substitute.


If you want to make a thick piping cream then place the gelatine sheets in a jug of cold water and leave to soak for at least ten minutes. Making just single cream for cooking or in a recipe skip this part.

In a small saucepan place the whole milk, sugar and vanilla and heat gently until bubbles just start to form – stirring to make sure the vanilla and sugar are mixed in. Do not boil. Pour this into a jug or small bowl.
In the same pan melt the butter then take off the heat and either use a hand whisk, stick blender or liquidiser and with the motor running, pour over the melted butter in a steady stream. The liquid will thicken as it cools and can be used when your recipe calls for single cream.

For a thick piping consistency – take the soaked gelatine sheets, drain from the water and drop into the warm pan that had the butter, add a little of the milk mix and swirl around until the gelatine dissolves. Pour this into the jug and blitz or whisk again.
Transfer to a small bowl and pop into the fridge to firm up. This will take about 2 hours.

When ready to serve or use, take from the fridge, give a whisk with an electric hand whisk. It will seem lumpy at first but the lumps will whisk out and the cream will be thick and of a piping consistency.

Even in savoury dishes I like the addition of the sugar and the vanilla – they add a creamy taste rather than a sweet taste.

The single cream equivalent will freeze but the thickened cream will not.

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